What happens when we find ourselves stuck in relationships forced on us by our kids? Do we politely plod through our lives with little hope or happiness? Do we silently surrender, let “the other side” win and retreat into retirement activities? Do we fight for our grandchildren’s time and attention and prove to them that we put the “grand” in grandparents?
This leads me to ask-
What is the best way to avoid competing with your grandchildren’s other set of grandparents ?
A. Make an informed change.
B. Talk it out.
C. Refuse to avoid the inevitable! Anything they can do we can do better.
D. Learn to celebrate your differences.
If you answered-
A. This probably fooled most of you, because it sounded so proactive and clinical. However, it is not the best answer when perhaps there is no change necessary.
B. Talking it out sounds very proactive and helpful. It sounds like the best answer, but what if “the other side” can’t, won’t or does not need to talk it out?
C. Sadly, choosing to compete for grandchildren’s love and attention is too common. The desperate desire to be the favorite Gramma or Grampa, while a natural inclination, is still desperate.
D. Geoff Williams, grandparenting expert and writer for grandparenting.com, writes- “You may feel as if you have a special bond with your grandchildren. But the grandparents on “the other side” of the family feel the same way. So when the two sides come together…it can sometimes be awkward, especially if the grandparents don’t get along. Even if you’re friendly with the other set of grandparents, it can still hurt the kids [if you] give into the urge to compete for the children’s attention and affection… Janyce Granoff, 61, of Coconut Grove, Fla., is the first to admit that she and her husband are very different from her granddaughter’s other grandparents. But instead of making their difference a source of conflict, the four grandparents make it a source of celebration. ‘We are thrilled that we all have something to contribute,’ Granoff says. ‘It always amazes me when I hear about competition between grandparents. One would assume that one would just be thrilled that the other grandparents have something unique to offer and that they care enough to offer it.’”
When it comes to grandparenting, remember, “You can pick your friends and you can pick your seat…AND you can pick the right approach to joining “the other side” for the good of your grandchildren. Make your differences a source of celebration.